Image: Medialab Prado. Image of Julian Oliver’s “Levelhead,” 2008, projecting part of the Medialab workspace. First version “Unprepared Architecture” of Oliver’s project was developed in Interactivos?07 in collaboration with Simone Jones.
Medialab Prado when described to anyone unfamiliar with the art space appears to be a utopia for collaborative media production that would only function in theory. However, as those who have participated in past events can attest, the lab in practice is quite successful, and has produced some strong projects which have been exhibited in various venues soon after their completion in the two week workshops.
The premise behind the lab is to accept project proposals around a thematic, relevant to contemporary cultural production. Once projects are selected, collaborators are invited to work with the artists. The projects are complemented with a series of talks, which usually take place during the first days. The whole process ends with an exhibition of the finished proposals in the Medialab itself, which changes from a working studio space into an exhibition space. In just two weeks artists and collaborators can produce intricate works ready to be exhibited professionally.
There are five lines of work scheduled year-round: Interactivos?, Visualizar, Inclusiva, Commons Lab and AVLAB. All five with a specialized focus that allows participants to work fast and with precision. The result is an impressive number of projects that explore some of the most pronounced interests in emerging fields currently at play across the global new media community, from experimental sound to interactive video installation.
Interactivos?08 is the current line of work, taking place from May 30 to June 15, 2008. The thematic for this round is Vision-play. Interactivos?08 started with a series of historical and theoretical presentations by writers and artists invested in the concept of play in visual culture. The presentations of the accepted projects were successfully mixed with the theoretical presentations making obvious the necessity to have both theory and practice closely bound as part of the creative process. Interactivos?08 also offers two more important theoretical lectures on Thursdays of both weeks.
The art projects this year explore the ever-evolving definition of interaction in the aesthetics of the work of art in terms of play (hence the theme “vision-play”). The selected projects include simulation of the human face on a hacked mirror in “M.A.S.K. (My Alter Self Konciousness)” – Jordi Puig; an unconventional record of lapse of time with the use of solar energy and sand, reminiscent of sand clocks in “Spiral Drawing Sunrise” – Esther Polak; a series of open source videos designed to evolve online in “Bloop” – Martín Nadal; the exploration of performance for oneself as well as others when a person manipulates random imagery by using a swing in “Stage Fright” – Nova Jiang; the conundrum of music and art known as synesthesia in “360º score” – Philippe Chatelain; culture’s ongoing obsession with accessing a single experience from multiple points of camera views in “Immodesty” – Karolina Sobecka; augmented reality as a space that reconsiders elements of gaming and real life as repetition, following the Droste effect in “Daedalus_ex_Machina [DexM]” – Walter Langelaar; the repetitive reflection of the human condition with the recognition of one’s eye (reminiscent of Tony Ousler) in “Expanded Eye” – Anaísa Franco, reconsideration of the act of seeing with geographical tools used for a critical yet personal global vision in “augment(0)scope” – Eloi Maduell; and the remixing of the Zoetrope as a domesticated mechanical ‘live’ and ‘smart’ pet in “Biophionitos” – Paola Guimerans, Horacio González, Igor González.
At the moment, the projects are in full production. Artists and collaborators are currently testing software and hardware before committing to more elaborate physical construction. The projects’ sophistication is further informed by the expertise of practicing artists Alvaro Casinelli, Daniel Canogar, Simone Jones, Julian Oliver and Pablo Valbuena. In only a week the projects will be finished and a lively audience during an art opening will be able to experience works of art that were developed with great sophistication and unprecedented efficiency. Two qualities of cultural production which in the not so distant past were often considered incompatible in the production of works of art.
Medialab Prado’s Main site: http://medialab-prado.es/
Interactivos? main website: http://www.interactivos.org/
List of projects with proper descriptions: http://medialab-prado.es/article/interactivos08_-_juegos_de_la_vision
Medialab Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/medialab-prado/
Medialab Wiki: http://wiki.medialab-prado.es/index.php/Main_Page
Other lines of work, year round:
Commons Lab: http://medialab-prado.es/laboratorio_del_procomun